500 Foods Contain the Yoga Mat Compound?!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Mar 10, 2014 10:56:00 AM
    bakery-bread-breakfast-166021-944158-edited
Photo by hermaion from Pexels

Going, going, gone!

You won't find azodicarbonamide (the yoga mat compound) in Nature's Own products. And Subway is phasing it out, too. But lots of manufacturers are still using the additive.

That compound found in commercially baked bread — yep, the one that's in yoga mats, too — is in the news again.

report from the Environmental Working Group finds that the compound, azodicarbonamide, is found in close to 500 food products, from Pillsbury Dinner Rolls to Little Debbie products to Wonder Bread.

As you may recall, the sandwich chain Subway got a lot of attention a few weeks back when it announced its plans to remove the yoga mat compound — which is used to improve dough and maintain bread texture — from its bread.

And as we reported, the kerfuffle came in response to an online petition posted by the creator of the Food Babe blog. The online petition pointed to a range of possible health concerns linked to the compound — everything from asthma to cancer.

But what is the evidence behind these claims?

Let's start with asthma and other respiratory issues. The concerns about breathing problems stem from factory workers who have been exposed to high levels of azodicarbonamide. But it turns out, outside of this occupational exposure, there's no evidence that there's any risk at all to consumers.

It's good to "remind yourself to be more skeptical," says Justin Pagano, who has written that he'd like to see more scientific inquiry and reasoning used in thesewhat's-really-in-your-food campaigns.

He says there's a "generational zeitgeist" among his fellow millennials to "take back food" from the control of large companies and demand transparency.

And he agrees that it is important to be asking questions about how the food we eat may influence our health. Even if the questions are tough to answer.

Take, for instance, the tricky business of interpreting toxicity. John Coupland, a food science professor at Penn State, has blogged about the complexities involved.

He explains that small amounts of two compounds, semicarbazide and urethane, are formed as azodicarbonamide breaks down during the baking process. And it's possible that these compounds may pose a risk.

"The real question is whether these tiny concentrations in bread are toxicologically significant," Coupland writes.

Groups such as the Environmental Working Group argue that since it's not essential and it could pose health risks, the yoga mat compound should be removed from the food supply.

"This is an unnecessary chemical that's added to bread," says EWG scientist David Andrews. And there are viable alternatives, such as ascorbic acid, which is a form of vitamin C.

But the FDA considers small amounts of azodicarbonamide to be safe. The agency long ago set an allowable level of 45 parts per million in dough.

And food scientist Kantha Shelke of Corvus Blue, who works as an independent consultant to the food industry, says this is reasonable. After all, it's the dose that makes the poison. And "45 parts per million is very, very, very small," she says.

But in an era when social media can whip up a frenzy of concern, food companies are becoming quick to respond to get ahead of bad publicity — regardless of the science.

"No [food company or chain] wants to be associated with anything that can be remotely considered harmful," Shelke says.

Which may explain why, in the wake of Subway's announcement, several more manufacturers have also decided to drop azodicarbonamide from their products.

For instance, bread maker Nature's Own noted that it has already phased out the compound from its bread products.

And intuitively, it just feels better to know that a compound used to make yoga mats is being removed from breads.

But maybe I'm just being closed-minded here.

For a different perspective, I reached out to bakery industry consultant Theresa Cogswell. She pointed out that "there are many things used in industrial uses" that cross over into food use as well.

"And the assumption that it's bad for you," she says, is just not accurate.

Take, for instance, sheet rock, or gypsum. It contains calcium sulfate, which is also used as a food additive. In fact, it's used to make tofu.

Hmmm. A vegan favorite contains the same compound that's used to make drywall. Who knew?

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on the NPR health and fitness blog: The Salt
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Topics: nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, healthy eating for women, nutrition

The Simply Delish Weight Loss Trick

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 7, 2014 11:51:00 AM

Add a little spice to your life!

Zesty dish = slimmer waist? Adding herbs and spices to a reduced-fat meal can make it just as appetizing as the real thing, says a new study from the University of Colorado.

People ate same-sized portions of regular (650 calories), reduced-fat (395 calories), and reduced-fat with spices (including onion, oregano, and paprika) meals of meatloaf, vegetables, and pasta. The eaters then rated the dishes for likability. The results: When made with spices, the reduced-fat meatloaf and vegetables scored higher than the regular versions, suggesting that spicing up food could make up for missing fat.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you don't have to suffer through plain skinless chicken or naked nuked broccoli, says Virginia-based registered dietitian Jill Weisenberger, author of Diabetes Weight Loss. Instead, try these three spices and cook up healthy meals with big flavor.

1. Cinnamon:

Known for its blood sugar-lowering properties, cinnamon doesn’t just spruce up sweet stuff like oatmeal and rice pudding. Try it in savory dishes, too: Sprinkle the spice on baked acorn squash or roasted carrots, or add a half-teaspoon to a stew of chicken, rice, and tomatoes, Weisenberger says.

2. Chipotle pepper:

Stir ¼-teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper into bean dips, guacamole, or mashed cauliflower, suggests Rochelle Sirota, a registered dietitian in New York City.

3. Garlic:

Place four whole cloves in a vegetable steamer basket along with greens like kale, chard, broccoli rabe, or collard greens. As the greens steam, they’ll be infused with delicious garlic-y taste, says Sirota.

spices for weight loss

 

Want more helpful nutrition tips and tricks to help speed your weight loss efforts?

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, January 8 or Saturday, January 18 for a free informational seminar packed with all kinds of things you need to know to fire up your metabolism and get the body that you want now. It's your turn to ask our experts: Dr. Lucky Bennett, creator of our nationally recognized Nutritional Coaching for Women program and the Director of Fitness at The Women's Club, Natalia Schifini. If you are a woman living in the Northern Virginia are you should miss this opportunity to get help figuring out what works for a woman's body and finally reaching your fitness and weight loss goals! More information...

 

 

 

 

Original article written by Jessica Girdwain
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Topics: nutrition advice for women, healthy eating for women, weight loss for women, fat burning, nutrition

How You Can Fight Food Cravings...and WIN!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Sep 21, 2012 3:13:00 PM

What's Your Vice?

fight food cravings

Maybe its the smooth, melt in your mouth taste that comes from chocolate, perhaps its the salty crunch from a crisp potato chip, could be sweet sugary confection that you crave -- all you know is that you really REALLY want it BAD! The question becomes do you give in or fight it? Do you truly want whatever the objection of your taste bud's affection or is your mind tricking you into believing if you don't give in to indulging "just a little bit," the craving will become so bad that the "little bit" will turn into a pig out fest of epic proportions! 

 

If you have ever wondered why you crave certain foods at certain times, there has been a recent surge of research on the subject of the how's, and why's of food cravings as well as what to do about them.

According to a recent blog post on WSJ.com, research has found the following:

  • Food cravings activate the same reward circuits in the brain as cravings for drugs or alcohol, according to functional MRI scans, tests that measure brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow.
  • Nearly everyone has food cravings occasionally, but women report having them more often than men, and younger people crave sweets more than older people do.
  • In one study, 85% of men said they found giving in to food craving satisfying; of women, only 57% said they did.
  • While many women report craving salt, fat or bizarre combinations of food during pregnancy, researchers can't find much scientific validation. They suspect folklore and the power of suggestion instead.

Why? Why? Why?

For a long time it has been the belief of researchers that what we crave has something to do with the bodies efforts to correct a dietary deficiency of some sort. For example, those who salivate over the thoughts of a big juicy steak might be low or missing iron in their diet. chocolate lovers might be missing magnesium or the mood boosting chemical phenylethamine, a chemical humans produce naturally when they are in love.

Health Journal writer, Melinda Beck, says no way, "...a growing body of research casts doubt on the nutritional-deficiency notion. After all, few people crave vitamin-rich green leafy vegetables and many other foods contain more phenylalanine than chocolate—including salami and cheddar cheese."

Current research has revealed the following as the most likely reasons why we experience food cravings:

Learned behaviors and experiences -  As a child, you may have been consistently rewarded with a sweet treat when you had a bad day. The learned behavior of having something sweet to lift your spirits became a habit that is very hard to break.

Hormonal fluctuations - Certain hormones in your body help control appetite. Ghrelin is the hormone you produce that drives you to eat, while leptin is the hormone that signals satiety. Normally, these hormones act as a checks and balances system to keep your appetite in check. However, under certain physiological conditions, such as sleep deprivation, this system is thrown off because the hormones are not produced in proper proportion to one another. Estrogen, cortisol and serotonin can also play a role in food craving frenzies, and whether due to stress, sleep deprivation, or the normal hormonal fluctuations of a woman’s menstrual cycle, these hormones can drive you to seek out nutrient- dense, fatty, sugary foods.

Environmental factors and sensory stimulation - Studies have found that the sight, smell, taste, or even just the thought of favorite foods can lead to intense cravings. Experiences like seeing food advertisements on TV or passing a bakery and smelling the aroma of fresh baked bread can also initiate food cravings. Certain social settings, like a party or environmental factors, such as dim lighting in a restaurant, can fuel our drive to indulge.

Because It Makes Us Feel Good- In the U.S., about 50% of women who crave chocolate say their cravings peak around the onset of their monthly period. But researchers haven't found any correlation between food cravings and hormone levels, and postmenopausal women don't report a big drop in chocolate cravings, a 2009 survey found. Some psychologists suspect that women may be "self-medicating," because sweets and carbohydrates spur release of serotonin and other feel-good brain chemicals.

How the Heck Do I Fight Food Cravings and Win?

how to fight food cravings

 

 

  1. Stay well hydrated - Very often when you feel “hungry” it’s your bodies way of telling you to drink more. Water also acts as a natural appetite suppressant because it keeps your stomach full, and this is why it’s our number one way to fight food cravings!
  2. Wait a few minutes - Have you ever noticed that cravings don’t last long? If you give them a few minutes you may just find you actually don’t need anything after all. Try doing something else to take your mind off the craving for 15 minutes, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or walking the dog, etc.
  3. Avoid your trigger foods - Marcia Pelchat, of the Monell Center reasons that you can only crave what you eat so if you switch up what you are eating you can lessen your current food cravings and even build new ones for healthier options. In her study, volunteers were asked to drink a bland dietary-supplement drink for five days. Participants noticed that during this time they craved fewer of their trigger foods. So, if you’re trying to avoid your food triggers, remember that the first few days are always going to be the most difficult. Again, it may not be possible to completely eliminate your old cravings, but if you can avoid your trigger foods for a while you may notice you begin to crave them less. 
  4. Choose a healthy snack instead - Sometimes ignoring your cravings or drinking water simply won’t cut it! On these occasions make a healthier choice instead. I’d suggest drinking a big glass of water, and eating around 1 1/2 ounces of mixed unsalted nuts and seeds to help satisfy those cravings.
  5. Indulge once in a while - Allowing yourself a treat on occasion can be a really helpful strategy for most people in fighting food cravings. The thing to remember is portion control. So, if you feel like eating chocolate, have a few small squares and go for a high cocoa version – as a general rule of thumb, aim for 70 percent (or higher) cocoa for the most disease-fighting antioxidants. (Source: DietBlog.com)

All is NOT Lost Friends

As women we can sometimes feel incredibly guilty when we are not able to fight off food cravings. We are quick to resign ourselves to despair and then figure, "I have already started so I might as well finish" and that is how a scoop of ice cream swiftly can become us staring at a spoon in the bottom of an empty carton. While its never easy to fend them off altogether, you will find over time when you employ some of our suggestion to keep those cravings at bay, the actual craving will diminish on its own over time. Remember folks...slow and steady wins the race!

Tell Us

How do fight food cravings? Drop your favorite suggestion in our comments section. We'd love to hear from ya!

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, fat burning, nutrition

Fish Oil Pills Not Heart Healthy? What?!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Sep 12, 2012 11:14:00 AM

Is Fish Oil the New Snake Oil?

For years we have been told that as far as heart health, nothing could be better for you than taking a few fish oil pills as part of a healthy daily diet. Now a shocking study conducted by the American Medical Association has revealed that fish oil pills do not reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes in spite of the fact that they have long been used as such and sometimes even prescribed by doctors as a preventative. This edition of Nutrition Advice for Women takes a look at the recent findings about fish oil supplements and examines some alternatives to popping a pill.

fish oil pills

 

Say It Ain't So...

The existing theory behind the use of fish oil pills in the diet was that they "help make the blood less ‘sticky’ and lower blood pressure by relaxing vessels, thus making heart attacks and strokes less likely." (huffingtonpost.com)  To be more specific, the findings came from over 20 studies which included more than 70,000 patients and found that taking the Omega-3 fatty acids found in these pills boasted no "significant effect on rates of heart attacks, strokes and heart-related deaths." (dailymail.com)

Study author Dr. Evangelos Rizos, of the University Hospital of Ioannina in Greece, said: “Our findings do not justify the use of omega-3 as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or guidelines supporting dietary omega-3 p olyunsaturated fatty acid administration.” The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Fish oil supplements are hugely popular as a dietary supplements among Americans. Though it is hard to pin down an exact figure for sales of such products, an article in Forbes magazine noted that, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, over-the-counter fish oil supplements accounted for $739 million in sales in 2009. Meanwhile, in 2010 Americans spent nearly $4 billion on products fortified with extra omega-3s, according to the market research firm Packaged Facts.

Not Everyone Agrees

Many who have been convinced the they key to a healthy heart and longevity lies party in a bottle of the amber-colored pill find themselves very disappointed by these findings, but the not everyone in the medical field  agrees with them. Conflicting information abounds, for example a study published two years ago found a one gram a day supplement could help extend the lives of those with heart failure, and patients who have had heart attacks are alredy advised to take a pill daily. 

The relevance of the current study has been questioned by some. Dr. Carrie Ruxton, from the Health Supplements Information Service, said: “Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their heart health benefits with a significant body of evidence.”

According to an article on abcnews.com , "Patients and doctors like the idea that it is natural and has no real side effects," said Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of New York University Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. And some doctors say the findings of the new study are no reason to cut bait on fish oil pills.

"Meta-analysis (like the type used in this study), particularly when neutral, should not be used to draw a conclusion," said Melvyn Rubenfire of the University of Michigan.

So What SHOULD You Do Instead...Go Fish!

alternative to fish oil pills salmon

 

Many experts say the best way to get fish oil is just to eat fish. The American Heart Association (AMA) currently recommends that people get their dose of omega-3 fatty acids  from eating two servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, mackeral, tuna, sardines, per week. For the fish-averse, a slightly different kind of omega-3 fatty acid can be found in flaxseed, walnuts soybeans and canola oils. In addition many cardioligists, and nutrition experts agree that regardless of its nature, no supplement is a "magic bullet" and they should never be used as a substitute for a healhty diet pattern. 

 

Still Confused?

As the debate on to fish or not to fish rages no, you may still be a little confused as to what types of fish are best to add to your diet and in what amounts in order to get the questions about fish oil supplement studyvital omega-3 fatty acids that we all need. The AMA has published Fish 101 which is a handy guide to more specific consumption recommendations. In addition, you should cosnlut your doctor before starting or stopping any supplement regimen. 


You can also drop us a note in the comments section below or submit your question privately and we would be more than happy to forward it on to our team of experts!

 

 

 

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, healthy eating for women, nutrition

Buying Organic is Good for You...Except When It's Not

Posted by Angie Quehl on Aug 16, 2012 11:40:00 AM

Shopping Organic Doesn't Always Mean Healthy

Increasing numbers of us are waking up to the benefits of eating in more healthy ways and looking for food products that are made with our health – and the planet’s health - in mind. Organic foods stores are flourishing, as the go-to places for healthy nutrition.

organic market


If you’ve recently decided to boost your own health by eating better, it’s likely you’ve made a few exploratory trips to the local natural foods stores. You may even have purchased a few items and perhaps you were amazed at how delicious they were. Sure, it’s ‘health food,’ but those crackers were outstanding; that ice cream was to die for. You may assume that anything you purchase at the health food store is ok to consume and free of health risks. Turns out that it’s a bit more complicated than that. Since people adhere to all different kinds of diets, even health food stores offer a huge variety of products, not all of them suited to a style of consumption that’s dedicated to strictly healthy practices.


If you are serious about your nutrition for fitness, you’ll need to carefully examine all food labels, even those from trusted health food resources. Here’s why:

1.   Gluten-free foods have become the recent craze and a smart one to say the least, however, when purchasing gluten-free one must watch the sugar content. Sugar is organic, but it is never healthy in anything other than very small amounts. On average, Americans consume 30 teaspoons, (that’s 475 calories) of added sugars on a daily basis, which is more than three times what’s recommended by the American Heart Association. And according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control, 16 percent of kids and adolescents’ total daily calories come from added sugars! So, keep an eye out on sugar content in the gluten-free department.  These tend to be misconstrued as “healthy” and even though one may give up gluten, they may end up adding just a bit too much sugar in the diet.

2.   Vegetarian “faux-meats” and frozen entrees may be made from nutritious ingredients, but how much fat and how many calories do they pack in? Also, be aware of your consumption of processed soy since that is essentially what you are eating. You might want to check those numbers before indulging in extra helpings. Organic or not, such products should be consumed with restraint.

20 Frozen Entrees - Nutiritonal Break Down

3.   Organic soups are another health food product to watch out for. While these are generally better than traditional, non-organic canned soup, they can still contain more than half your recommended daily allowance of sodium. It’s recommended to look for soups with less than 400 mg per serving (and to watch out because many cans actually have two servings). You can always spice up your soup with herbs to make more flavor. 

Favorite Soups of the Experts

Eating organic foods is generally good for people and for the environment. But in the midst of the craze to establish a better diet, take the time to make sure you really are buying the excellent nutrition you are looking for.

Still Confused?

We completely understand! Navigating your way through all things "organic" can be a daunting task. Sorting through nutrition advice for women in general gets even tougher when there are conflicting reports on everything from soup to nuts. We would love to help you with those burning questions! Drop us a line in the comment box or click the button below and fire away!

 

Ask Fitness Questions Here
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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, healthy eating for women, nutrition

5 SHOCKING "Health Food" Phonies...more Nutrition Advice for Women

Posted by Angie Quehl on Oct 17, 2011 12:37:00 PM

If your weight-loss regimen consists of giving up the foods you love in favor of a diet of strictly flaxseeds and rice cakes, it's time to reconsider your strategy. There are lots foods out there masquerading as being "healthy" when in reality although they may be better than some other choices, their true nutritional value may not be quite as it seems.

Seemingly nutritious packaged and prepared foods often abound with added sugars, preservatives, and dangerous, belt-breaking fats. To help you sort out some of the biggest culprits we have have identified the most punishing health ruses and replaced them with delicious alternatives that will keep you satisfied and give you all the purported nutritional benefits that many of our most beloved foods sadly do not. 

1. Turkey Burger

850 calories 
50 g fat 


Eat this instead!11741229116_999770c8c9_b
7-oz sirloin steak
350 calories 
20 g fat 


People hear turkey and automatically think lean and healthy, but depending on the type of ground turkey and toppings used, one of these poultry patties can be every bit as fatty and caloric as a beef burger. Sirloin, on the other hand, is one of the leanest cuts of meat available, which makes for an incredibly satisfying, protein-enriched meal that will keep you feeling fuller, longer.

Who wouldn't want to make this swap?   

 

2. Bran Muffin

420 calories 
20 g fat


Eat this instead!

Ham, egg and cheese on an English muffin
300 calories 
12 g fat 


Bran muffins are comprised of two things your body doesn't want in the morning: sugar and refined flour. Both will work to spike your blood sugar, which signals your body to start storing fat and sets you up for a mid-morning crash. And with only trace amounts of fiber, there's nothing healthy about this misunderstood muffin. The breakfast sandwich, on the other hand, is a surprisingly great way to start your day. Besides having fewer calories, fat, and carbs, it also offers about 20 grams of protein, which we really need in the morning to jumpstart our metabolism.    

3. Yogurt with Fruit on the Bottom

Fruit on Bottom Yogurt190 calories 
30 g sugars 

Eat this instead!
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in
110 calories 
15 g sugars 


You wouldn't start your morning with a can of Coke, would you? Then you should pass on these troublesome yogurt cups since they contain as much sugar as a soft drink. Almost all of what comes directly from the "fruit" is high-fructose corn syrup. Yogurt and fruit can be a great way to start your day, but do it yourself by mixing a cup of nonfat plain yogurt with a half cup of mixed berries.    

4. Margarine

100 calories 
11 g fat

2.5 g saturated


Eat this instead!


Whipped Butter (1 tbsp)
50 calories 
6 g fat 

1.5 g saturated

In their haste to remove saturated fat from butter, margarine makers created a monster—a soft, spreadable sludge loaded with trans-fats, a dangerous lipid with more concerning links to heart disease than saturated fat. Stick with the real stuff, but pick up whipped butter from brands like Land O' Lakes instead; by whipping air into the butter, manufacturers decrease the caloric density of a tablespoon of butter, plus it makes for easier spreading.  

  

5. Dried Fruit             

175 calories 
45 g sugars

dried-fruits-3474

Eat this instead!
Fresh fruit like a apple or a peach
70 calories 
15 g sugars 

Okay, so dried fruit won't totally derail a day of good eating but it's far from being a harmless snack. First, because the dehydrating process sucks most of the volume from the fruit, you can eat cups of the stuff, and 600 calories later, still not feel any fuller. More troubling, though, is the fact that companies almost invariably add a ton of sugar to the fruit, making Craisins closer to candy than Mother Nature's original intention. In this case, the choice is clear: Stick to the real stuff.

Our best advice...read the labels and not just all of the numbers. "The quality of our food is profoundly important," says Rita of FitBlogger.com.  Take the time to check out what might be lurking in that so-called "heath food". In addition to the calories, sugar, fat and sodium there can be all sorts of other things that are added to make some of these foods taste better but might even be harmful to you. Like everything else under the sun, there's even "an app for that" ! Fooducate’s free iPhone app scans UPC codes to assess products with an algorithm that favors real ingredients, actual (vs. fortified) nutrients and minimal processing.

Need Help?

At The Women's Club we have all sorts of experts that would love to help you with your weight loss and nutrition questions. Shoot us an email to womensclub@aol.com, leave us your question in the comment section, or to submit your question anonymously click 'Ask Us' below.

Click me 

 

List compiled from an article on Eat This, Not That.com
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Topics: nutrition advice for women, weight loss for women, nutrition, nutritional coaching for women

Nutrition Advice for Women: 3 Bathing Suit-Friendly Burgers

Posted by Angie Quehl on May 25, 2011 11:42:00 AM

Fire Up the Grill!

Memorial Day symbolizes the unofficial start to summer as well the start of the barbecue season. Along with the weekend's festivities comes all of the food which can often (although tasty) mean a ton of fat and calories added to your diet. News flash...great grilling does not have to turn into extra pounds on to a frame you have been working so hard to get summer-ready. To help you not sabotage your efforts we offer you some great alternatives to an American BBQ standard, the burger. Delicious AND nutritious these babies will not only make your barbecue a hit and satisfy your guests, but will also help you strut that bathing suit body all season long!

Turkey Gorgonzola Burgers                 nutrition tips for women turkey burger

 1 lb lean ground turkey
3 oz Gorgonzola cheese, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp vegetable oil
6 100% whole-grain buns
6 Tbsp barbecue sauce
Shredded cabbage (optional)

1. Preheat grill to medium. Combine first five ingredients and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Lightly mix together and form into 6 patties. Brush them with oil.

2. Grill burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until internal temp is 165°F. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns; garnish with barbecue sauce and cabbage, if desired.

Makes 6 servings . Per serving: 293 cal, 11 g fat (4 g sat), 27 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 545 mg sodium, 26 g protein

 

Garden Chicken Burger with Strawberry SauceNutrition Tips for women chicken burger

3 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 medium zucchini, peeled
1 lb lean ground chicken breast
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
6 flatbreads or naan
1 cup arugula or baby spinach

1. Warm 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in mint and remove from heat.

2. Preheat grill to medium. Using a box grater or mandoline, shred carrot and zucchini, then chop into small pieces. In a large bowl, lightly mix shredded vegetables, ground chicken, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, egg, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 6 patties and brush with remaining vegetable oil.

3. Place burgers on grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Meanwhile, toast bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side.

4. Line flatbreads with arugula, add burgers, and top with strawberry sauce, then fold bread over burgers.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 387 cal, 8 g fat (2 g sat), 54 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 497 mg sodium, 27 g protein

 

Stuffed Portobello Burgers with Caramelized Onions

1 Tbsp butter                                             nutrition tips for women portobella burger
2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
8 portobello mushrooms
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
3 oz roasted red peppers
4 oz sliced low-fat mozzarella
1 loaf focaccia bread

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium. Remove stems from mushrooms, brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place eggplant slices on grill, cook for 2 minutes per side, then set them aside. Add mushrooms to grill, stem sides down, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Flip mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes.

4. Top 4 mushrooms with red peppers and mozzarella, then cover each with a remaining mushroom, stem side down. (Stem sides should be facing each other.) Cook for 2 minutes or until cheese has melted; set aside.

5. Meanwhile, slice focaccia bread in half lengthwise down the side, then slice each half into 4 squares. Toast squares on grill, 2 minutes per side.

6. Place each stuffed mushroom on a focaccia square; top with onions, eggplant, and focaccia square.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 536 cal, 14 g fat (5 g sat), 81 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 909 mg sodium, 26 g protein

 

Get even more bikini-friendly burger recipes and other great healthy ideas perfect for any BBQ!

 

Add your favorite healthy bbq recipe to this edition of nutrition advice for women. Our Comment Section below is the perfect place to swap and share.  

 

 

* Some content orginally appeared in and article written by Matthew G. Kadey, M.S., R.D for  Women's Health Magazine 

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, weight loss for women, nutrition, the women's club, nutritional coaching for women

Say NO to that added 5-7 Pounds this Holiday Season!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 16, 2010 2:14:00 PM

First things first. Everyone knows that the holiday season brings with it days when you are short on time and events that are typically long on food options. Everything seems to be in excess. At this time of the year people tend to either remain really strict about their diet and exercise program or toss it altogether for the six weeks of the "holiday period" according to Sue Cummings, MD at the General Hospital Weight Center in Boston. Clearly there are better options in in both scenarios that will allow you to enjoy all of the good foods you only get once a year without blowing off all of the hard work you have put in from January to November!

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Keep in mind that the holidays are just that, DAYS not weeks or months.  After every holiday event, make sure to head back to your normal eating routine. Also, watch the calories in your favorite holiday spirits. Alcohol contains empty calories that can quickly add up. If you are curious about how many calories are in your favorites visit: http://www.wastedcalories.com/cocktails.html

Try using the 80/80 approach.  Janet Laubgross, Ph. D., a Fairfax-based weight management psychologist suggests that " 80% of the time you do 80% of the things that are healthy for you. During the other 20%, let go a little and enjoy small portions of your favorite foods." It it is the thought of "blowing your diet" or trying to deprive yourself that sends most folks into a downward spiral. If you slip up and violate your own regimen all is not lost! Take it in stride and get back in the saddle the next day.

Avoid a fridge full of temptation.  Toss leftovers or send them home with your guests. Donating extra food to a local food bank is also a good idea to keep you from doing the midnight run to the fridge to indulge in holiday temptations. Out of sight, out of mind!

Make time for yourself this season.  Penciling in "down time" can be key in avoiding the exhaustion that can lead to making poor food choices. Make sure you find time to exercise even if it is just as few a 30 minutes and few times a week. Group exercise classes can also be a fun way to reduce the stress. You will find that taking a little time to yourself will help you get through the stresses of the holiday that can contribute to weight gain.

Be careful of where you indulge.  Don't burn up calories on something that you really don't enjoy or can get at any time of the year.Save your "splurge moments" for the holiday treats you are just wild about like grandma's pumpkin pie or Aunt Jane's world-famous mac & cheese. Make every calorie in those once-a-year pleasure count!

Take time to savor the flavors of the holiday.  Give everything you eat this holiday your full attention. Practice what Dr. Cummings calls "mindful eating." The basic principle is simple and sound...if you eat something distractedly it does not register. Even if it is something small, take time to put it on a plate, sit down and really ENJOY it. Don't taste test while you are cooking or stand over the buffet table at a party. Even though you are only taking in small amounts of food at a time, those calories count and can add up before you know it!

Be in control of what you are eating.  It can be very difficult at times to pass on sweet treats offered by your host or hostess at a holiday event, but chances are they will be too busy with other guests to notice what you are eating. Don't be impolite but you are the captain of your waistline and you should be able to pass on whatever you like. For the does and don't of buffets visit:  http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_4_23/ai_111146684/

Maintain, don't gain.  If you can maintain your weight through November and December consider yourself successful! The holidays are the WORST times to try and actively work on shedding pounds. The best present you could give yourself is not adding the stress of trying to stick to a weight loss program to the equation. Continue to exercise and be mindful of you portion sizes and you will find the scale tipping in your favor at season's end!

 

 

    
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Topics: women's health, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, fitness tips, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, weight loss for women, nutrition

Women's Wellness Series: The facts about Cleanses and Detox Programs

Posted by Angie Quehl on Oct 15, 2010 1:50:00 PM

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Cleanses and detoxes come in many shapes and forms. Whether a strict water or juice fast, or dietary modification with the addition of supportive herbs and nutrients for a period of time, the ultimate goal of a detox or cleanse is the same: reduce what’s coming in and increase what’s going out of the body to decrease the body’s overall “toxic load.”


The body has four primary routes through which it can eliminate waste products: the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the kidneys and bladder, the skin, and the lungs. Any time one or more of these pathways of elimination is not functioning well, the other pathways have to take up the slack or the body has to figure out how to store its toxic load in the least harmful way possible. When these situations arise, we often find the beginnings of illness. Many commercially available cleansing programs focus on the liver and the gastrointestinal tract, which are critical to proper removal of waste and toxins from the body. Addressing the GI system is important, given the prevalence of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and foods devoid of any real nutrition in our society, however it is only one part of a larger picture and all of the body’s routes of elimination need to be supported and addressed.


Without a doubt, a detox in any form is hard work. The most difficult part of a cleanse for many people is the diet. Whether a cleanse is liquid-based or involves food, chances are it is will be a dramatic change from peoples’ typical eating habits. However, the choice of what we eat is an aspect of cleansing over which we have a lot of control and has an impact on both the “what’s coming in” and “what’s going out” parts of the detox equation. It is also the choice of what we eat that will have lasting benefits beyond the course of a cleanse. With benefits ranging from increased energy to reduced sugar cravings to weight loss, participating in a cleanse once or twice a year is a wonderful opportunity to break poor eating and lifestyle habits that we all inevitably slip in to over time.

 

Article submitted by Dr. Lucky Bennett

Dr. Bennett will be conducting a 3-week Detox program at The Women's Club. Click here for more information.

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Topics: women's health, Women's Wellness, weigh loss, fitness tips, weight loss for women, nutrition

Fat Burning Fitness For Women -- 9 ways to Kick It Up a Notch

Posted by Angie Quehl on Aug 2, 2010 3:02:00 PM

  

1. Warm up before a strength training session Warming up increases blood flow to muscles by about 55%, giving you better muscle contraction. You’ll sweat earlier, which helps to regulate your body temperature. Just 5 minutes of walking or cycling will meet this requirement.


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2. Vary your cardio exercises – Alternate between two or more cardiovascular activities like walking and cycling or kickboxing and step aerobics. This will help to optimally develop your cardiovascular fitness, maintain the element of fun in exercise, help you avoid over-training, as well as injury. Bottom line, you will expend more calories.

3. Incorporate several cardio techniques - Changing techniques forces your body to adapt and become more efficient. Vary the intensity and modify impact styles. For example, if you have been walking the same path at the same pace every day, begin to incorporate bursts of speed intermittently. The underlying principle is that change is what keeps the body progressing, making improvements and burning fat.

4. Circuit Train – Perform several strengthening exercises interspersed with a short cardio segments. For example perform a leg press, lateral pull down and abdominal crunch followed by 3 minutes of cycling. Then repeat another 3 strength exercises followed by 3 minutes of walking. Circuit training has a lower dropout rate (which means you will stick with it longer), is an efficient calorie burner, increases muscular strength and decreases body fat.


5. Strength Train with Multi Joint exercises – Choose exercises that work compound muscle groups – meaning more than one muscle group at a time. This will give you the most bang for your buck. Examples include squats, lunges, and push ups. For every pound of muscle on your body you need 35 to 50 calories per day to sustain it, while every pound of fat on your body requires only a modest 2 calories per day.


6. Exercise first thing in the morning – Morning exercisers have a higher likelihood of showing up. Later in the day, the odds that you’ll skip your workout increase as interruptions things come up and fatigue sets in. Morning exercise also helps regulate your hormone response, telling your body to release fat and kick start your metabolism.


7. Eat a “primer” meal prior to working out – Having a small balanced meal prior to exercise will help you burn fat. After you eat, your blood sugar rises and exercise acts like insulin to help regulate blood glucose. Eating will also give you the energy for a more intense workout – you will therefore burn more calories.


8. Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day – Food has a thermic effect, meaning it takes energy (calories) for your body to digest the food you eat. Eating several times throughout the day increases the thermic effect, so you burn more calories. Eating more often also keeps you from feeling like you are being deprived of food and prevents hunger from setting in, which can cause you to binge eat. Learning to eat smart is and essential part of any weight loss program for women.


9. Train with intensity – To get the full benefits of exercise for women, you must graduate from the “pink weights” and moderate walking. Do not be afraid to increase your resistance and challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system. In order to change, you have to push your physical limits beyond what you are accustomed to.

 

*Adapted from an article by fitness expert and certified personal trainer Kelli Callabrese

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Topics: strength training, weigh loss, fitness tips, fat burning, nutrition

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